tv Glenn Greenwald Our Civil Liberties at Risk LINKTV October 15, 2015 4:00am-5:01am PDT
[applause] thank you. thank you very much, and good evening to every body. thank you so much for coming out tonight. to the muslimell legal fund for inviting me here and for the outstanding work they do. i'm as genuine as i can be when i say everyone in those two organizations is extremely impressive, even inspiring to me
because of the work they do in areas where very few other organizations are able or willing to venture. i'm truly delighted to participate in any event they sponsor any work they do. for the last 6, 7 years, i have been writing about the systematic erosion and attack on civil liberties in the united states and the war on terror that justifies those erosions that drivesm-phobia those. the past few years i have been spending an increasing amount of time traveling around the country speaking about these issues at events like this, similar offense on college campuses and in large and midsized american cities. reason that is so important to me and i have come to value that experience and the reason i'd continue to do it is it enables me to meet many of the people whose lives have been devastated
by the injustices we have been talking about this evening and that i spend so much time writing about and advocating. if reason that so important, you spend a lot of time thinking about these issues and writing about them without having the human interaction, it is very easy to see these injustices as abstractions. it's important that even if you become somebody who is objecting to them on a theoretical level in terms of the concept and threat they pose to liberties that we consider so important that one not lose sight of the fact each and every instance in which these injustices manifest do actually harmon sometimes devastate the lives not only of the individuals who are targeted by them but i hold it in you family members and friends and members of their community as well, and it's only by going around and having those interactions is that personalized aspect of these issues really in a visceral way brought home and conveyed. it's really that experience that
has emboldened me more than ever before to continue to work on these issues. and what's really amazing about the persecution of muslims and the attack on civil liberties and the united states is the magnitude of it is so great that it really is a case in almost every single city i have been to there are people there to meet who have been directly harmed by these kinds of travesties. a lot of times when i get to the city, i am not even aware there are people in those places come it's just that they are so common that it ends up in a most every place i go these experiences happen. lastto give an example, week i spoke to the university of missouri law school, in columbia, missouri, a pretty small typical american college town. unbeknownst to me prior to my arrival, that happens to be the moody lives.r. i was able to meet his son and son-in-law and hear about his
truly amazing and genuinely disturbing experience. was a student who decided to come to the united states to pursue a phd in nuclear engineering. he arrived at the university of missouri to study and obtained his phd and decided along with his wife he wanted to stay in the united states and work in the united states rather than returning to iraq. work as aand got research professor at the university of missouri, became an integral part of the columbia community. he and his wife ultimately had five children, all of them american-born u.s. citizens. the problem is beginning of the early 1990's, for the next decade, he had numerous family member still in iraq, including 11 siblings, along with his elderly mother who was blind. millions ofs and iraqis, his family members were not just suffering great
deprivation, although they were, they were literally on the boundary of starvation, typically unable to feed themselves in any way that provides major sustenance. this is incredibly common among the regime sanctions. although he was earning a modest salary, he simply could not in good conscious live even what was really a lower middle-class american existence with some discretionary funds while his family was suffering so greatly in iraq. he began to find ways to send very small amount of money back to his family in a rack, but a -- literally 10, $15, $20 per month to allow them to eat and buy medicine. when others figured out he had no figured out a way to do this, they wanted to send money back to their families. on behalf of 13 families, he spent very small amounts back to erect, never more than $100 a month for anyone family, enough
to basically sustained 13 families. he did this for a decade. when the sanctions on the regime were lifted. and 2003 he became an outspoken advocate of the proposed attack on iraq. as a nuclear engineer, he was incredibly well-suited, very credible to argue that saddam had no active program, that the war was being sold based on an in litany of misinformation about a rack -- about iraqi weapons of mass to russian, arguing that removing saddam by foreign powers would spawn human suffering, basically warning of everything that would happen. as a result he attracted a lot of attention from the u.s. government. blue, 35out of the federal agents showed up at his
home, armed, while his two teenage children were there, showing a search warrant for his home, spending the next nine hours in his house removing everything they could find. passports, documents, photos, marriage license, heirlooms, huge documents. beenich they have never returned to them. only three years later did he learn the charge the government was able to indict him for. it was basically a single count of technically violating the law that's part of the sanction on the regime that aren't any american from sending money back to a rack -- sending money back to iraq. the u.s. government acknowledged that every penny that he sent was intended only for purely humanitarian assistance for these 14 families. intended forit those purposes, even the government acknowledging the money never went everywhere --
anywhere but those recipients to buy food, by shelter, medicine. nobody contends that a single tony went to saddam's regime buy weapons, to terrorist groups, anything else. yet the u.s. government indicted him for what i think he called, aptly, a crime of compassion. two months ago, he stood in a federal court in missouri expecting to receive probation because what he was accused of the wing has not been a crime now for nine years. yet he was sentenced to three in federal prison, which he began serving two weeks ago at fort leavenworth. i was able to speak to his son and son-in-law on the devastation this has wreaked on dr. moody also his family. he has several college-age students. has another son who is 16 years old and is a junior in
high school, and his brother told me about the way in which this has affected his brother at a very vulnerable time, six years old, to have his father disappear. 60-year-old man, highly educated, now consigned to a cage for the next three years for literally having done nothing other than try to save his family from starvation, starvation that occurred because of the same government that just prosecuted him for doing that. this is the kind of story that if you go into muslim communities in the united states you will hear over and again. it's the sort of thing you can become angry about if you think about it or read about it without the human connection. it takes on a different dimension when you realize these are all human beings whose wives have ashlock said been destroyed in the family members continue to suffer. it's not just meeting the aims of these injustices that makes my going around so valuable but
also the people who are fighting them and combating them on a daily basis, usually in obscurity and often at great personal risk to themselves. the unitedways states government has terrorized muslim communities using the law is to use material stuck boards statutes -- ethereal support statutes to make it a felony punishable by decades in prison to have any involvement with any element the united states government deems off-limits comer regardless of what that entails. it's really quite risky, quite scary for people, especially muslim activists and lawyers, to provide aid to people accused by the government of materially supporting terrorism, to provide legal networks, financing for them, a support network and infrastructure so the u.s. government's goal of disappearing them, having us forget they even exist.
the two organizations who have sponsored this event tonight our organizations i have really come to know very well over the past year. they're doing brave and important work. without them, many of the people targeted by the u.s. government would have no defenses. one of the things i think about quite a bit and i debate with myself quite a bit about and go back and forth on is when i think about these issues of civil liberties, abuses, the like. whether or not there is really anything unique about the way in which primarily muslim americans and others in the united states have been targeted with this kind of persecution. as alluded to earlier tonight, the history of the united states is one that has a continuous stream of minority groups who have been targeted landscape goaded and victimized by abuses of power, african-americans being the most common and consistent example, but other
groups as well, whether immigrants or accuse communists were japanese-americans during world war ii have been similarly targeted based on the knowledge that these marginalized minority groups that the government can seize power without anyone much caring about it. the air is an argument that the muslims are the latest in this continuum, the current example that has replaced communists and other groups as this favorite group from the u.s. government to target and demonize to justify abuses of power. there is an argument that one should look at it that way. i actually think there are some unique attributes about this persecution that distinguish it from those other prior examples. i think is very difficult to compare injustices quantitatively to see which are better or worse. it's not profitable to do that, there are unique attributes to the way in which the civil liberties are being justified. the first of those unique
attributes is all of the civil liberties abuses are taking place within the context of multiple wars. the reason why that is so important is because the number one tactic of the government in vogue, true since the history of war was begun, is the enemy of the war has to be dehumanized, has to be completely demonize to the point of almost subhuman state of nonexistence. the reason for this is even the most sociopathic citizenry will not sustain very long a knowledge that it is supporting a continuous killing of their fellow human beings. it's why those people have to be dehumanized, so that knowledge can be abated. what you have over the past 11 years of continuous bombing and killing and attention and torture is the continuous dehumanization of the victims of this violence which no most every case are muslims.
you have american politicians who will stand up and say, we are not at war with islam, we understand the majority of muslims are peaceful, and we are only interested in punishing and bringing to justice those muslims work stream s who were violent. the reality, the impact of this this constant- of dehumanization is to render muslims completely voiceless. the most striking instance of how potent this dehumanization is occurred recently. to me at least. if you look back at what happened in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attack, what was amazing about the media reaction of the mayor can people was that for decades there had been this list of grievances in the muslim world about the united states, that it supports dictators, that it brings violence to the muslim world, that it renders the wishes of powerless and
irrelevant, that it steadfastly supports israeli aggression, a whole litany of grievances that if you pay attention to the discourse of the muslim world or you would be familiar with. after 9/11, the reaction of the majority of americans, which was quite genuine, was bafflement. it was, i don't understand why anyone would possibly want to attack the united states. we are such a peaceful nation. all we want to do is go about living our lives with freedom and liberty, yet people seem to really hate us and it's impossible to understand why. the question that was asked of the mirkin people was -- of the american people was the famous "why do they hate us" question, and the u.s. government needed to provide an answer because people wanted to know why they were attacked. the answer was, they hate us for our freedom. what's remarkable about that, that was understandable because muslims and their grievances
have been basically excluded completely from public discourse. the reason americans did not know that is because they were not subjected to it. they were never exposed to it. 11 years later, here we are, after the united states has full-scaleo invasions and invasions of predominantly muslim countries, has bombed many others, has created a worldwide torture regime, has created a lawless prison in the middle of the ocean that has brought thousands of muslims, and even after all this violence and aggression and lawlessness, a full decade's worth, when recent protests broke out in the muslim world that were anti-american directed at the united states, that same question arose, why could they possibly be so angry at us? it has evolved to the point where there was bafflement they were not grateful to the united states for all the freedom we brought them. this to me really underscores
how completely muslims are excluded from anything we think about or talk about in the united states. themve debates about without their participation, we have discussions about what they are thinking without actually hearing what they are thinking. we have constant reports about who we are killing and how many people we are killing without ever stopping and thinking about who those people are or whether they have done anything that warranted that violence. so much so it was recently revealed a couple months ago by the new york times the obama administration has adopted a new definition of militants, which says that any military aged male and a strike zone, meaning any male who dies above the age of 16 or below the age of 55, is automatically deemed a militant without knowing anything else about them. this is how we have come to think about muslims, to the extent we think about them all, they die at the hands of our violence justifiably because
even when we don't know anything about them, we assume they are militants or terrorists. this has been so indoctrinated for so many years in the mindset of americans that i think it really distinguishes this form of persecution from prior once. i don't mean it i mean it is a unique form of how this persecution is justified. another unique attribute of the current persecution campaign is that as we move further away from the precipitating event, in justifypitated the abuses, the 9/11 attack, the injustices actually worsen. to become more extreme, not less. what is amazing about that, if you look at the precipitating event that led to the interment of japanese americans, the attack on pearl harbor and the war with the japanese, the japaneseon against
americans was very intense during the initial conflict, but after the initial trauma wore off, the persecution lesson. japanese-americans were integrated back into the american community relatively quickly. as the country moved away from the precipitating event, the persecution got better gradually. what you see in this campaign is the opposite. we have one successful terrorist attack on u.s. soil 11 years ago, get if you look at such -- things never get better. never or the abuses curtailed. even further away from the 9/11 attack, things continue to worsen. you see far more fbi raids and arrests where the fbi creates and funds and conceals a plot that it tricks young muslims into joining, then they trumpet
that they have dismantled the plot. then they put them in prison for decades, far more so now than 10 years ago. when you look at the form of material prosecutions, they are far more remote connections to his designated terrorist groups, literally 20 two-year-old muslim americans who upload youtube videos critical of u.s. foreign policy are being indicted based on the grounds of the youtube video encouraging support for terrorist group, done in coordination with them, therefore being indicted. far less proximate to any terrorist organization then material support was 10 years ago. then probably the most disturbing example is the claim by the obama administration that it actually has the ability to target even american citizens for extrajudicial assassination, to kill anybody a president
decides without a whit of transparency is guilty of terrorism, a power that not even george bush and dick cheney attempted. you see the worsening of this trend rather than the curtailment. i think that is also unique. importation ofhe the war that i just described onto american soil progressively as we move further away from 9/11. one of the things that made the post 9/11 theories of dick cheney and george bush so extremist is there is no more limitless power that a president han the power he can exercise during a theater of war. on a battlefield, there really is no law. everybody acknowledges that. terrorist say when men take up arms, law false. more is the ultimate expression
of lawlessness in limitless powerful stuff on the battlefield, people shoot each other without having trials or due process. everyone agrees that is war to nobody thinks soldiers have to give opposing soldiers a trial before shooting them. that is what war is. what made these post-9/11 theories so radical is the assertion was made for the first time theaters of war were no longer confined to find a physical faces, the battlefield. it was now the case the entire planet was the battlefield. including u.s. soil. therefore, the limitless power that the president can exercise on a battlefield are now no longer confined to physical spaces. essentially the president is omnipotent everywhere because that is where the battlefield is found. what you have seen the past several years, the concern was at some point the world as a battlefield and the president can exert more power is inside the united states. what you have seen over the last
couple years is very much moving in that direction. security.s. national officials five years ago talked about al qaeda as the greatest national security threat were al qaeda and the arabian peninsula or various affiliates, now they talk about almost uniformly the greatest threat eating what they call homegrown terrorists. what you have seen the civil liberty abuses, new ones, spreading up almost exclusively on american soil. two years ago, the obama justice department announced new rules where miranda rights were diluted. deluded -- you have legislation being proposed to strip people of citizenship and eliminate legal protections they have. and the end of last year, you had the national defense authorization act which codified the power, probably the most un-american power there is, looking at america and he romanticize sent, on u.s. soil as well.
you see this incredibly rapid importation of war theory that used to be applied both outside the united states now being applied on u.s. soil, to the u.s. citizens and those being residents of the u.s. i also think that is unique. attribute i want to talk about that i think distinguishes this current prosecute -- persecution campaign is the way in which extremism rapidly becomes normalized. this is probably the most difficult to describe, but also the most odious. think about what happened in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. the country was traumatized by the attack. the political and media class became mac we us into political power. whatever the u.s. government wanted, everybody was willing to give them for the most part. very few objected in that immediate timeframe after the attack.
acquiescent, even submissive all most every sector of american society was to the u.s. government, when the government stood up and introduce the patriot act, that really set off lots of alarm bells. go back to october and november in2001 and you will find most major american newspapers people reacting with a fair amount of alarm over the fact the government had now suggested and opposed that they seize new surveillance and detention powers that were quite radical. the patriot act became the and thef extremism danger of overreach on the part of the government. so much so that when the u.s. congress, as compliant as they were, and acted the patriot act by an overall majority, even the u.s. congress two weeks after september 11 inserted into the patriot act a provision that says the power this law creates
will expire in four years. the reason being that everyone recognized this was an incredibly radical piece of legislation and that nobody wanted this to become permanent as part of america's political landscape. it was justified only because the situation was so extreme. later, thears situation was no longer extreme and the idea was those powers could be curtailed and everything would return to normal. later, in 2005, the patriot act came up for renewal and it was renewed with almost no debate by a vote of 89-10, even in the face of abundant evidence powers had been abused. in 2009, the obama administration issued a statement saying they wanted the patriot act quickly renewed. the handful of senators said, maybe we should modify this a tiny bit because there are some abuse taking place and this will help prevent that, and they were immediately accused by harry
reid, the democratic majority leader, of risking a terrorist attack on the united states and a quickly passed with almost no debate. nobody thinks the patriot act is radical anymore, even though after 9/11 it was viewed as that because extremism becomes normalized once we accept it for a long enough time. it blends into the woodwork and becomes a permanent fixture in american political culture. one other example of that is i mentioned a little bit ago the obama administration has claimed the power to target american citizens even for judicial and extrajudicial assassination with no charges, no due process, no oversight, no judicial review. look atmazing is if you what the controversies were of the bush administration, things that had democrats and progressives running around with hysteria, screaming and yelling in protest, the shredding of the
constitution, the war on american values, the things george bush and dick cheney did to provoke that protest were things like asserting the power to detain people, including american citizens, without due to eavesdropmply on the conversations of american citizens without first going to court and getting judicial review. this was years ago, considered so extreme as there was no insult you could express that would be considered too extreme for how radical these powers were, yet here we are three years later and the current president is asserting that the power to detain people without charges, although he is doing that, and not merely the power to ease drop on conversations without going through court, though he is doing that as well, but also the power to execute people, to assassinate people without going to court or invoking judicial review. yet there is very little controversy becausert time ago has now become normalized.
the reason why i consider this to be the most odious aspect of all these developments was really underscored a few months ago. i was speaking at a college in indiana, purdue university, and several high school students who write for their high school newspapers drove several hours to hear me speak. i talked about the state of civil liberties in the united states and the way these russians had taken place. they interviewed me after for their high school newspaper. one of the things they said, they said a lot more interesting things than i did because it really has an impact. one thing they put it out as they said, look, you keep talking about all these changes to the civil liberties landscape and the way in which we have freedoms in this country, but one of the things you keep talking about is you make it seem like there are these great changes, there was the world pre-9/11 and now post-9/11. they told me for people who are our age, 15, 16 years old, we
were four years old at the time of 9/11. really, there is no pre-9/11 world we know. our political consciousness has been shaped almost exclusively by the post-9/11 world. as is all we know. what we consider extremist and radical and threatening is for them increasingly more and more americans coming of age in the post-9/11 world all they know. it's normal. not objectionable, something they don't even pay much thought to in terms of questioning are challenging because it's the only experience they've had. that underscores why this long time in which these russians have been permitted to take hold or so significant. important issue to me whenever i write about these issues is the term civil liberties.
people try to guess about my political ideology or where i am on the spectrum of political ideology and believe. that's always the phrase -- that's really the only phrase i accept. the reason is i consider it completely central to everything we are talking about tonight. in order to have that discussion, i think it is important to step back. so many terms in our political discourse are terms that get thrown around all the time without paying attention to what they mean. we heard before the term internal support that sends people to prison for decades even though almost nobody can say what it means. the term terrorist and militant are terms that are at least as consequential, yet almost have no real definition. i think civil liberties is the same way. everybody talks about, yet very few people stop and think about what it means. the reason that's important to do is it actually has a very clear meaning, one that is pretty simple.
all civil liberties really means is the list of limitations that we have imposed on what the government can do to us. it's the things that first were conceived by the founders to prevent a replica of the monarchy they had just fought a war to liberate themselves from an over the next two under 50 years it has been added to and elaborated on in all kinds of ways. it's the list of limits we have imposed on the government. we don't need to guess what they are, we have a constitution and bill of rights that tells us what those limits are. .hose limits are very clear they are intended to be very clear. they are absolutist in their nature. anybody can read them and see what they say. the first amendment says congress shall make no law abridging freedom of speech. before the men it says none of us will be subject to unreasonable searches of our person our home without probable cause. the fifth amendment says that no person shall be deprived of life
or liberty without due process of law. these are exactly the limitations that we have allowed the government systematically to transgress without much backlash or objection. i just want to spend a little time as the last main point to talk about thinking about what the implications are of allowing the government literally 2-wood nor all of the limitations -- allowing the government to ignore all the limitations we have told them they have to abide by for us to consider their power legitimate. some of those implications are fairly obvious. if you allow the government to transgress these themes that you have a government of the lawless, that means as citizen we lose crucial rights to change our society, touches what freedom of speech and freedom of the press is intended to guarantee. it means we lose the right of privacy if we can be eavesdrop
on without a demonstration we have done anything wrong to a court of law, if we can be killed or imprisoned without due process. i means we are at the mercy of the government. but there is something more insidious about allowing the government to violate the civil liberties systematically that i think is to me the most important. it's a little difficult to describe, but i think it's worth doing because it's not very obvious. the main implication of allowing this to happen, allowing the government across these lines without implications or repercussions is it fundamentally changes the relationship between the citizenry and the government. what i mean by that is this, in an ideal world, people exercise , they have fear over the people they are exercising power that if they abuse that power, bad things will happen. that fear has always been a to thery deterrent temptation to abuse power.
that's what happens in an ideal society that a government fears it citizenry. look at what happened when tyrants and kings abuse their power. look at the world and history and you can see what happened to kings. they see of rulers abuse power, they have something to fear. in a tyranny, the opposite happens. overtyranny, the people whom power is exercised fear the people who are exercising power. i think very much that is what has happened in the united states is the climate of fear that has been created and that is increasing, that is being bolstered all the time and has changed relationship between the citizenry and the government. i want to share an anecdote about when i first really realize this not in a theoretical way but a very visceral way and started thinking about it more. in january 2010, the first time i ever wrote about you organization wiki leaks, devoted
to transparency and exposing secret government wrongdoing. january 2010 was a time when almost nobody had heard of wiki leaks, including me. the way that i came to learn about wiki leaks was that the had prepared a8 top-secret report. in this report it decreed that wiki leaks was an enemy of the state, a threat to national security. prepared as top-secret plot at ways to destroy wiki leaks, to expose feed them faketo documents that when published would destroy their credibility. ironically enough, this top-secret pentagon report about wiki leaks was linked to a few weeks -- it was leaked to wiki leaks, which published it. the new york times wrote an article about this in 2010, which is very short because nobody knew who this group was in a talked about this weird,
small transparency group had been decreed as an enemy of the state by the pentagon and had plotted to destroy it. i remember reading this article thinking that any group that the pentagon had declared an enemy of the state in secret was a group that merited a lot more attention and probably a lot of support. i did a bunch of research and found out wiki leaks had brought transparency in all sorts of important ways to other parts of the world, africa, berlin, exposing the secrets of corporations and the government's. i talked about the promise that i thought wiki leaks held for exposing the worlds most powerful factions in bringing liked what they were doing. i interviewed the group's founder and publish the audio tape of the interview. at the end of the article, i incurred people to donate money to the organization because i knew they were sitting on a bunch of important secrets. this was before they had released the video of the baghdad incident where megan
soldiers and apache helicopters killed in unarmed journalist and civilian, before all the big newsmaking leaks. they cannot process these leaks and they made it more, so i encourage people to donate money to them and provided a link to how they could donate money to them by paypal or to their bank accounts and other information. ,n response to that article specifically in response to my anchor urging people to donate money to wiki leaks, i had dozens of people, literally dozens and dozens in various , and the comments section, events like this say to me essentially something along the lines of, look, i concur completely with what you wrote about wiki leaks, i see the value in the work they are doing in the promise they hold. i definitely want to support them. my fear, though, is if i wire money to wiki leaks or use paypal, i will end up on a government was somewhere.
or even worse, if at some point wiki leaks is formally decreed to be a terrorist organization i could be subjected to liability, criminal liability for materially supporting a terrorist group. these are not people prone to weird conspiracies that you hear from occasionally. these are very sober, rational americans. the reason i found that striking is because these were american citizens who were petrified of exercising their core first amendment constitutional right, which is what donating money to an organization or political causes. they were petrified they would be punished if they exercised those rights. what made it more remarkable is wiki leaks was an organization, is still an organization that has never been charged with little loan convicted of any crime. yet here we are with all kinds of people voluntarily relinquishing their own rights
at all fear the government would abuse its power and punish them for exercising the right the constitution guaranteed. the reason i found that so significant is you can provide all the rights you one on a piece of paper word piece of parchment, but if you intimidate the citizenry from exercising their rights, signaling there are no limits which the government has to abide by, those rights become completely worthless. one other antidote. 10 months after i wrote that first article about wiki leaks, i was the first person to write manning, the extremely inhumane and detention conditions of long-term solitary confinement without being convicted of any crime, all caps of harassment designed to destroy them psychologically. at the time i wrote the article, a lot of people were asking me -- i was asking myself, too --
why would the u.s. government subject this 23-year-old army private to this form of serious oppression? au and investigation concluded was that concluded it was inhumane and borderline torture. ,t did not make sense to me because it turned manning into a martyr even if people israel with what he did. they were sympathetic to the mistreatment. it risked having statements he made while in custody excluded from any trial on the ground it was forced. it created a small scandal. even obama's chief spokesman publicly denounce the treatment and resigned after he criticized the president for it. it did not make sense to me why they would want to subject him to this kind of abusive treatment that the whole world could see. after a little time thinking about that, i realized the reason they did that is the same reason that they are so
aggressively putting fear into people's hearts about supporting wiki leaks and threatening to prosecute wiki leaks, it's the same reason the u.s. government spends all those years abducting thousands of people from around the world and shipping them to a lawless prison in the middle of the ocean and dressing them in .range jumpsuits and shackles the reason is it wants to send a signal to anybody who may oppose them or try to impede their will in any way. it wants everyone to know there are no limits on what we can do to you. if you oppose us. if you want to expose things we have done in secret that are a legal or deceitful or wrong, look at what we have just done to bradley manning. if you want to oppose our foreign policy, look at the people on this board that we sent to prison for decades for doing, really, nothing. if you want to oppose our foreign policy, look at the guantánamo detainees who have been tortured and are starting
to die in that camp without any hope of ever escaping. it is a purposeful way of creating this climate of fear as a means of pacifying people and preventing anybody from opposing or meaningfully challenging what they are doing even when it comes to exercising the rights of the constitution. of fear is most palpable to me when i speak to people who live in muslim communities in the united states, where they believe, many of them, with great reason, that every conversation they have on their television and every e-mail exchange they have with their friends or family are being monitored and recorded and explored. where they fear whenever somebody new shows up at their mosque that this is not a stranger whom they can befriend, that somebody sent by the fbi to trick and deceive them and get things to prosecute the master rest. it's people who are petrified of expressing political opinions because those political opinions
can be used to convince a jury they intended to harm united states. look at the rights that people are petrified in the united states, muslim communities, of exercising the right to privacy, the right to free speech, the right to association. the core rights the constitution guarantees, that america is defined by, that people on the road are relinquishing out of fear -- that people on their own are relinquishing out of fear. it's very easy to intimidate people out of exercising their rights while preventing them from even realizing it's happening. you can reach the point where you essentially tell yourself you have no real interest in opposing the government, you have no interest in protesting what they're doing or objecting to what they're doing, when in reality you have been intimidated out of it. the socialist activist rosa luxemburg said he does not move does not notice the chain. convince yout can
that you actually don't want to do any of the things you are actually not able to do, you won't even realize you have been restricted in any meaningful way. you will think you are free, even though you been intimidated out of it. the only other point i want to happens is ifwhat you gather at an event like this and talk about all the horrible things taking place and you dissect them and analyze them and focus on the harm it's doing, one of the things you can do is sort of spread this horrendous gloominess. everybody walks out depressed. like, i just listened to the last few things over an hour, i want to jump off a bridge. i think it's important to think about why that's not a rational reaction. not for rosy eyed reasons, but because reality suggest there is no need to think that way. temptations for
groups historically in the united states will a been targeted for persecution is to believe that they can simply go in hide, that they can stay object, tole, not nothing, and they will be left alone. that never works. there was this woman at an event i was at at the university of missouri last week who was one of the earliest founders of the st. louis chapter of care. which she described was fascinating. she talked about how prior to 9/11 when they start the st. louis chapter of care, she and her fellow muslim activist thought they would have this nice innocuous little group. they would create t-shirts that said muslims care, a play on the word, they would have bake sales and show the community they were happy, fun people and not make waves. she said after 9/11, when the entire world changed for muslims in america, she realized that is
not a solution. that is what makes communities vulnerable, by not demanding their rights they will curry favor and protect themselves stop the only way she realized for muslims or any other group in history to have improved their situation is to find allies outside of the group and band together and demand those rights rather than hoping they will be accorded to them. there is a lot of sentiment in the united states that makes clear there was really grounds for optimism for believing that's true. a couple months ago there was a mosque in joplin, missouri, that had been the target of arson and other vandalism over the past several years that earned to the ground. leaders in that community set a goal of a quarter million dollars they wanted to raise oalt'll is an optimistic ga to rebuild the mosque. i wrote about it and several other people wrote about it, and
within 24 hours they had wildly exceeded their goal, raising almost double the amount. now they are not only going to just rebuild the mosque, they will build a much larger and more modern mosque with a much greater presence that can do a lot more for the community. these are the kinds of sentiments that we see quite pervasively in the united states that need to be tapped to redress these problems. optimism isson for that the united states was built on a foundation, a premise that injustices were always going to take place, that the nature of leaders and human nature is such that power would be abuse. we have lots of different institutions that are designed to safeguard those rights and prevent those abuses, but they don't do it on around. but they are there. really are organizations out there that you can participate in and join and support in all kinds of ways
that are very effectively fighting against these abuses. the two groups that are the sponsors of this evening's event and have invited me to go around the country for four-day speaking about different issues are the groups that i think deserve your support the most. that is really why i'm genuinely excited to be part of this four-day event, to talk about these issues with each of you, and i really appreciate your coming tonight. thank you very much. ú]]